Parrots need a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. They should make up around 15-20% of your birds whole diet. Fruits and vegetables add a lot of volume to your birds meals for such low calories, along with providing them with much needed vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The health benefits fruit can bring are well known however are all fruits safe for our feathered friends? What about cherries? Let’s find out.
Can parrots eat cherries? Yes parrot can eat cherries, they are a delicious and highly nutritious food you can add into your birds diet. However you need to remove the pit of the cherry before serving, this is due to the little kernel in the center containing a chemical called amygdalin which is toxic to your parrot. Once the pit is removed your parrot can reap the benefits of cherries like vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, fiber and other things we’ll outline.
In this article I’m going to cover the benefits of cherries and other things you need to be aware of before you feed cherries to your parrot.
Cherry Benefits For Parrots
We know cherries are good for our Parrots, but just how good are they? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content.
According to the USDA, one cup of fresh cherries contains:
Full Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are plentiful in cherries, this is due to the high concentration of plant compounds found in cherries. These substances are needed for combating oxidative stress. This is caused by free radicals in the body that are atoms which cause damage to cells leading to faster aging and have been linked to cause disease like cancer.
Other foods that contain antioxidants which you can feed to your parrot are : any other kind of berry like strawberries or blueberries, kale, beans and spinach all of which are safe for your parrot to have.
Improved Heart Health
Cherries are full of antioxidants like polyphenol, flavonols, anthocyanins and catechins. These substances work together to help your parrots body reduce inflammation and and keep the heart healthy by protecting against cell damage caused by free radicals.
There is also potassium in cherries, a mineral useful for regulating blood sugar, keeping a healthy heartbeat and removing sodium in the body – all of which work together to keep your parrots cardiovascular system in good condition.
Vitamin C is crucial for your parrots immune system, without enough of it they would get sick often due to their immune system not being able to fight off harmful bacteria.
It’s also important for your parrots skin health, which you may not notice over their beautiful feathers.
Potassium is a mineral that’s also found in berries it helps your parrot with a variety of different functions :
- Regulating blood pressure
- Helps with their muscles
- Improved digestion
- Keeps a healthy heart rhythm
- Removes sodium from the blood
Along with berries, other safe foods containing potassium that you can feed to your parrot are : bananas, lentils, potatoes, spinach, broccoli and dried fruits.
Fiber plays a role in how well your parrots digestive system performs. It helps with reducing the chance of constipation as more fiber in the diet increases the size and weight of your parrots stools, leading to an easier chance they get passed through.
Also as foods high in fiber are typically more filling, fiber in your birds diet can act as a weight maintainer because your parrot won’t be as hungry meaning they won’t overeat.
How You Should Feed Cherries To Your Parrot
Feeding cherries to your parrot shouldn’t be very complex as they are small and once you’ve removed the put of the cherry you’re good to go and can add a couple into their daily meal.
However because cherries have a sweet and sour flavor you might have a hard time getting your parrot to eat them.
What I have found success with is adding a couple into my parrots water bowl that way he can dunk them under and pick them out which he seems to prefer over them being fed to him normally, give it a try!
Are There Any Risks To Feeding Your Parrot Cherries?
Briefly covered in the introduction, there is a risk to feeding your parrot cherries. The pit in the middle needs to be removed as it’s toxic for parrots (and humans too). This toxin is called Amygdalin which your body then converts to cyanide if ingested.
There are a number of ways to remove the pits without damaging the berry as a whole. My favourite is the chopstick method.
Remove the cherry’s stem and hold the fruit between your fingers. Place the smaller end of a chopstick in the stem hole. Push the pit out of the cherry with the chopstick, gently yet firmly.
If you have no chopsticks lying around then your next best option is using a cutting knife, which you definitely will have.
Place the cherry on a cutting board after removing the stem. Press down softly but firmly with the side of a paring knife until the cherry gives way somewhat. This helps loosen the pit. Do not press too hard or crush the cherry. Make an incision from top to bottom along one side of the cherry. Gently pull on either side of the cut to expose the pit and use your fingers to remove it.
Your parrot is now free to enjoy the benefits that cherries have to offer!
What Other Foods Can Your Parrot Eat?
You know cherries are safe for your Parrot to eat but if you’re like me then your always looking for new foods to improve your Parrots diet to create some variety and and include vital things that aren’t already in your birds diet.
So what other foods can your Parrot eat?
- Fruit & Vegetables
Foods like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, peppers, bananas, blueberries and pineapples are all fine and encouraged for your Parrot to eat.
Things like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts can be fed to your parrot. Just be wary of the fat content in some of them so they may need to be treated as a snack for your Parrot. We don’t want them getting fat!
Cherries For Parrots – Final Thoughts
After removing the pit from the cherry, it’s now a safe delicious fruit for your feathered friend to snack on. Cherries offer many health benefits that your parrot will thank you for feeding to them, however as cherries are a fruit they should only make up around 15-20% of your birds diet.
I hope your parrot enjoys this new fruity addition to their diet!